Jennifer MacBain-Stephens is the author of two full length poetry collections: "Your Best Asset is a White Lace Dress," (Yellow Chair Press, 2016) and "The Messenger is Already Dead," (forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press, 2017.) Visit:


Poems by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens


A tiger’s eye stared me out of gold once.

It said give up what you love.

I dug my way back through beetles and opened a paint store.

So many colors to greet me every day I could not label emotions:

am I Sienna Italy? Am I Frosted Surfer?  Am I Knight time Brusque?

Yellow wasps rage inside my throat,

swarm under tiny bones, heave tornado hair

the tossed silver piece lands face up before

the lightning storm.  Pink phalanges rotate in the sun,  

balloon animal is the new candidate.

Skin turns tourniquet shadow: your black and white

ska nightmare is finished. Wake up.

Regrow sky blue 

the white knight saves us, stained teeth apart, whispers of orange revenge

no glinting trophies await inside an ecru straight jacket. 

This silver medal is a wolf hound, knows only exposed neck and steel jaw.

Black buries a friend before the noose stops swinging,

green bottle flies implode, fall from a volcano onto a red velvet pillow

an engagement present on  satin. Or blood.

We pour bleach on it: the white poison bubbles, 

erases rosiness,  no             mistakes.

(inspired by Really System’s editor Patrick William’s poetry prompt generator at Found Poetry Review, April 2016.)
The despondent               of point A            must travel by train         and circumnavigate smiles

              to Cornwall         train depot         at point                B    

At no time                                                                           must despondent            stop or eat or    change 

the mode of dress is always raining

point B in            Cornwall             must wear a gray fedora  over a swimming cap   and carry 
a large                                   s             a              n             d             w            I               c              h

                                            the number 18                                  clearly visible

                                                             outside the right hip parka pocket
                                                      hand cuffs, Orvis fishing flies, all our prayer hands are held with zip ties                                                         after 1958: the electrical company Thomas and Betts never saw it coming

                                                        Our best security system is the canary flies at midnight
point A despondent        must D
the contents                     of the package
Like nuclear families,

the package is never where it is supposed to be
Point A despondent cannot carry an error around like a skinny                                                                               needle     reach     ING  STRETCH     I               N             G

into the obvious  ether 

never come home to  CHANGE name/s/

change of address, 
with point B contact
                                                                                 say how is the weather?
                                                                             the answer is fair, always fair.

Painting by Jay Rosenblum '55